Can technology and digital education rescue the Romanian educational system?

According to multiple studies, around 40 per cent of Romanian pupils are functional illiterates, meaning that they can read and write, but cannot understand or interpret the content. This is the highest rate in the EU, with high implications on the future workforce and long-term productivity. Economic interpretations show that this issue strongly affects the country's GDP.

The educational system is therefore stuck in an outdated mindset, both in terms of content and means of teaching the curriculum, with teachers unable to cover all these issues by themselves.

Contextually, the Romanian Safer Internet Centre (SIC) will release a new study in February 2019, which will contain up-to-date information on children's internet use and the effects on their wellbeing. The preliminary analysis of the responses shows interesting aspects in children's motivation in using the internet both at home, and in the classroom. There is a high percentage reporting that they use the internet for studying, because the information online is much more interesting than that found in school textbooks. At the same time, a very high number of pupils surf the internet during classes, with no relation to the subjects being taught. On the issue of safe use, data in the study also shows a big gap between boys and girls in relation to specific situations encountered on the internet relating to online risks. Therefore, future policies need to take into consideration the actual motivations and risk factors of each group. 

The actual figures will be released in February 2019, but the conclusions and correlations are relevant to possible causes of functional illiteracy and should be discussed further in order to find ways to reconnect children with the educational medium, otherwise the implications on the societal level in Romania are very grim. A total revamping of the architecture of teaching and the process of learning is essential for this, but unfortunately, at the moment, the political vision lacks such approaches. School still focuses on accumulating information rather than teaching "how to learn" methods, adapted to the way the information society works.

Find out more information about the work of the Romanian Safer Internet Centre (SIC) generally, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services, or find similar information for Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe.


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